Lisa Simon, Stalwart on 'Sesame Street' for More Than Four Decades, Dies at 64
The winner of an incredible 20 Daytime Emmy Awards, she started as a file clerk and went on to direct and produce for the children's show.
Lisa Simon, a 20-time Daytime Emmy Award-winning director and producer for Sesame Street who began with the PBS children's show at the start and worked through its current 45th season, has died. She was 64.
Simon died April 4 in New York City on her birthday, Jodi Lefkowitz of the New York-based Sesame Workshop announced.
Simon's association with Sesame Street began in its earliest days when, as a summer job while attending Hunter College, she served as a caretaker for children who appeared on the show and as a file clerk. She stayed with the show after producer Lu Horne asked her to and completed her B.A. in communications while attending classes at night.
Simon worked her way up from production assistant starting in season one to producer by season 12 and continued through season 24. She started directing in season 13 with the support of Jon Stone and directed episodes through this current season.
She was slated to direct episodes for Sesame Street's 46th season beginning this month.
Simon also earned a Primetime Emmy Award nomination for producing the 1983 PBS special Don't Eat the Pictures: Sesame Street at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and she shepherded the 2004 celebration of Sesame Street's 35th anniversary, Sesame Street Presents: The Street We Live On.
She also produced several Sesame Street home videos, including Elmocize, Zoe's Dance Moves and Big Bird Sings! and helmed episodes of Plaza Sesamo, the Latin American Sesame Street co-production.
After Hurricane Katrina hammered the Gulf Coast in 2005, Simon put together a tour with Sesame Street performers to visit children and families in the region. The group headed to shelters and entertained and met with thousands who were impacted by the disaster. Outside her work with Sesame Street, she served as a leader for a relief team that visited Sri Lanka after the 2004 tsunami there.
Simon worked on other acclaimed children's programs such as Between the Lions, Big Bag, Bear in the Big Blue House, Oobi and Wonder Pets!
Most recently, she served as a creative consultant to the local production team of the new Sesame Street co-production Iftah Ya Simsim for the Arab world and was scheduled to travel to Abu Dhabi for the start of production. She also was working with the Sprout network.
Survivors include her sister, Cheri, two nieces and two grand-nephews.